A brief thought in honor of Tu B’Shevat AKA New Year for Trees:
One of the special fruits associated with the holiday (and the Land of Israel), is grapes. Grapes can go either way: That can wrinkle up and become raisins, or they can be fermented into wine.
When grapes are turned into wine, their blessing “ascends” and transforms into Borei Pri Hagafen (blessed are the fruits of the vine) instead of Borei Pri Ha’eitz (which is said over grapes &/or raisins). Why the change?
Both grapes and wine are, essentially, old grapes.
With age comes experience, wisdom and more. As a wine ages, it becomes more delicious, acquiring more depth, balance and complexity. While age can cause a person to wrinkle up like a raisin, even an old wine can remain fresh.
L’chaim – to life!